Retrial set for Jones Co. man accused of killing 2-year-old

Retrial set for Jones Co. man accused of killing 2-year-old
The retrial of Justin Blakeney is now set to open Sept. 9 in Philadelphia in District Eight Circuit Court. (Source: Jones County Jail)

LAUREL, Miss. (WDAM) - A Jones County man convicted of capital murder in 2014 in the 2010 death of a 2-year-old will be retried in September in Neshoba County.

Eighteenth District Circuit Court Judge Dal Williamson signed off on a defense motion that requested a change of venue.

The retrial of Justin Blakeney is now set to open Sept. 9 in Philadelphia in District Eight Circuit Court.

In July 2014, the then 26-year-old Blakeney was convicted in 18th District Circuit Court by an imported Greene County jury of murdering Victoria Viner, the daughter of his then-girlfriend, Lidia Viner.

After receiving the verdict, Blakeney was sentenced to death.

But in November 2017, the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed the decision and remanded the case back to the 18th District for retrial.

The court ruled that Blakeney’ had been denied “opportunity to present a complete defense by allowing evidence and testimony obtained from informants, working as “state agents,” was provided potentially pertinent information in an untimely fashion and was subject to prosecutorial misconduct.

After his conviction, Blakeney had been sent to Parchman, but since December 2017, he’s been housed in segregated protective custody at the Jones County Adult Detention Center.

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